Anti-fossil fuel activists are threatening to use direct action to close down several of the world’s largest coal sites in May, potentially thrusting millions of people into the Middle Ages.
The targeted sites include coal companies in the U.S., Australia, South Africa, Indonesia and other places. The campaign to keep fossil fuel in the ground is orchestrated by international environmentalists under the umbrella group Break Free 2016.
“The local community have battled Ffos-y-fran for nearly a decade and now face the threat of a new mine next door at Nant Llesg,” Ellie Groves, a spokesman for Reclaim the Power, a network of environmentalists, told reporters about the Ffos-y-fran mine in the UK.
She added: “Enough is enough. We need a ban on opencast coal mining across Wales, and the rest of the UK.”
Reclaim the Power noted its intent to sequester advocates in certain areas at the Ffos-y-fran mine for the purposes of forcing coal producers’ hands.
“Hundreds are expected to set up camp nearby and take part in a mass action to close the mine. The action will take place a few days before the Welsh assembly elections on May 5,” the statement reads.
The Reclaim the Power network has been involved in similar demonstrations in the past. The network, for instance, has held several annual demonstrations pressuring companies to “keep it in the ground” since 2013, including a blockade of a World Coal Association conference last May.
Anti-fossil fuel group 350.org, a group created by super environmentalist Bill McKibben, is helping orchestrate Break Free 2016’s actions.
“We want to ensure there continues to be momentum to keep fossil fuels in the ground and to confront fossil fuel companies,” Will Bates, the global campaigns director for 350.org, told reporters.
Bates continued: “We need to be disrupting business as usual if governments will not put in place the policies that will get the job done. It is what is necessary. We think it is in everybody’s best interest.”
Break Free 2016’s actions come on the heals of another event on Feb. 25 involving a group of demonstrators that decided to protest the extension of Britain’s Heathrow Airport.
The group, dubbed the “Heathrow 13” by media outlets in the UK, was given a 12-month suspended sentence for barricading one of the airport’s runaways. The group’s members argued that expanding the airport would contribute to man-made global warming.
“I’m so relieved. It’s a triumph for democracy, a triumph for the movement,” Danielle Paffard, one of the members of the group, told reporters.
Other countries targeted by Break Free 2016 include Germany, Spain, Israel, Palestine and Canada.
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